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Flite Fest 2017 in review.

Balu

Moderator
Staff member
Admin
Moderator
#41
As an FT veteran I might be able to add a few things to the discussion. :)

Communication
One thing I noticed watching the recaps was how much stuff I missed over the days. I am not sure if announcements would have made that better since there's always so much going on, but as people have mentioned this area should be improved. Experimenting with an FM transmitter might be the right idea. Those texts were interesting too, but they won't work for us international visitors because I could not risk getting spammed with notifications and the roaming costs for each message.

Registration as Info-point
The rain resulted in lots of changes in plans and schedules. Moving the entrance multiple times, shuttling people to the wrong end of the field, etc. was something that was difficult to keep up with. The registration itself was not that easy to move because of the tent, the power setup and the necessary wifi link, but I think it was a very good idea to move it to the middle of the field - either that or have two registrations next year.

With the mentioned issues I wonder if the registration could be extended to be an central "information" point somehow. While the volunteers tent has been used for that before, there's not always people around and not everyone of the volunteers knows all the things. When people found or lost something, we always had to send them around: "Maybe check registration, volunteer tent or the store". It would be nice to have a central place for that.

A central place that also has people who keep track of the schedule, do announcements via whatever medium and can be asked. If we want to keep using the volunteers tent for that, it might be a good idea to clearly communicate it and have a team of two or three people around all the time, managing these things. That team also needs to have a direct channel to the official group of organizers (Jordan, Meghan, Artem, Andre?), the volunteers, external people, etc. to be able to ask them or discuss changes.

This is something the "public" FT crew should not have to worry about for the event. They have enough on their hands meeting people and shooting content. I always felt bad when I had to take Josh, Austin, Stefan, Alex or TJ away from someone or whatever they were doing right now to tell them: "There's a problem that needs fixing, what do we do?".

Oh and the school bus was a very short notice emergency solution just to be able to bring people to and from the event after the weather made everything else impossible. So yes, it might have been very cramped and not suited to carry around people, planes and equipment, but it was difficult enough to find a driver for it... after they had just bought it.

Volunteers
Andre did a great job, managing volunteers and reacting to unforseeable changes. And so did the team of volunteers. I am not sure about numbers, but I felt lots of volunteers didn't show up or went missing before and during the event. So please, if you volunteer, try to be at your assigned shift or at least let Andre know you can't make it so he can find a replacement.

And if you are not on duty, it might be a good idea to take off the orange shirt. I know I wore mine proudly even outside of my official shifts, but I was also prepared to jump in wherever needed. While doing that, I had people come up to me asking me if I was on duty and willing to help, because they were sent away by others "in their free time". I can understand that completely, but it just helps the visitors to see who is able to help them right at this moment.

Pilot badges
The badges were a big problem especially for us who did the first shift of registration every day. We didn't know anything about them either, just that they weren't there and were supposed to come in later. The problem I think was that some boxes went missing and when they had them reprinted, the printer was not able to produce enough in time. That's why we had a small 2nd run of badges to give out, but had to tell people to come back later again.

Build tents
The build tents have over the years always been abused as storage by lots of people, even though we kept asking people not do that. I had hoped that the extra "popup" space along the whole flight line would help with that, but it seems that it didn't. I have no idea how to handle that though besides putting up signs and asking people.

Trashcans
Someone has mentioned that trashcans were missing in the food area and at other places. I think that they weren't spread out as well because of the weather and the resulting chaos during setup this year. I missed trashcans at the washing stations too for example, because we had paper towels, but nowhere to put them. So I went to one of the places where lots of trashcans were standing and moved them around. If you notice a problem like this, it might also be a good idea to let volunteers know, so they can react (which again leads to the central info point above).

Rain / Straw
We won't ever be able to control the weather, just react to it. In 2015 it wasn't nearly as bad, because there was a lot less rain before and during the event. I know that the straw idea was something that came up during the 2015 event, when it started to get muddy unlike this year where we already had straw prepared to be spread. But we weren't able to do that during set up and that was the time where most of the central place got torn apart by the big tent trucks, heavy equipment, the generators, the food trucks, etc... Overall it's just a sticky situation we'd love to avoid at all, but if it rains you can only react and try to fix whatever happens. And no, I won't wear rubber boots again for a least a year.

Furey Field
As for the field as an inappropriate location. Furey field is the birthplace of Flite Fest (East). I know lots of community members that just went there and not west or south, just because of this fact. It's part of the Flite Fest history for them and changing that would make it lose a lot of the charm it has. I know this might change in the future and we will love any new place, but we really should cherish it as long as we can :).

And you know what - even though I listed all these "negative" points, I had a blast. It is still amazing to see this wonderful community come together to build and fly stuff, to talk to each other and have fun, no matter what is thrown at them. Even my brother who still is not interested in RC at all, loved being there. And If I could, I'd be at every other event too.
 

cranialrectosis

The flying faceplant!
Mentor
#42
As a FliteFest from afar watcher, how about more video on the FT Youtube channel?

I can't go to the party. The best I can do is watch and see you all from here. I would love to see more and in real time. :)
 
#44
How did you guys handle maiden flights with the CD (the AMA designated CD)

We are trying to figure out how to do something similar with foam planes at club events but the AMA does not allow maidens at an event and so there must be some proviso or something, how was it done?
 

makattack

Pollen is coming
Moderator
Mentor
#46
I agree with all the points Balu mentioned, and in my survey response, also pointed out that maybe the registration tent, as one of the first points of contact for incoming visitors should be centrally located and also an information point. Additionally, I think there needs to be closer integration with the parking/greeting people and the registration tent. There is informally, but I feel it needs to be fomalized.

As for AMA safety guidelines on maidens, I've been to many events, focused on beginners and advanced pilots where I'm pretty sure folks have snuck maidens in. Combat events, in particular. I do know at one of the fields I fly at, it's expected for anyone maidening an aircraft to announce it. That's essentially what happens at FliteFest. Note that the AMA has been a significant sponsor for a few years now, and have folks on premise who see all the maidens occuring.
 

PsyBorg

Fly Angry
Mentor
#47
I thought maidens were only allowed if one of the actual Flite Test crew did the inspections and deemed them worthy of the attempt? Or was that just for the huge sketchy builds? AS well as one of the flight line volunteers supervising the general area of said maidens.
 

wilmracer

Posted a thousand or more times
Mentor
#48
Every speed build kit or scratch built plane assembled in the build tents and then flown at FF was technically maidened at the event. The plan was/is to have the large and sketchy stuff checked out, but the logistics of checking every new build at FF would be a huge challenge. I suspect it would require the flight line to be blocked off and to force pilots through choke points with volunteers inspecting aircraft before sending a pilot to an assigned pilot station. FWIW that is the way some of the big events work, but that would clearly change the feel of FF.

I would suggest that the AMA guidelines are a great rule of thumb when dealing with larger, heavier, and more expensive aircraft, but that strictly following them at FF would completely change what has made FF so successful.
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#49
Flight line volunteers did as many safety checks of maidens as we could get - especially the big sketchy ones, and I know I personally sent a couple back for adjustments before flights were attempted. I agree that it's counter to the culture of Flite Fest to try and drop a hard requirement for maiden safety checks, but I (and Carl I'm sure) will work with the flight line crew procedures next year to emphasize more what we are looking to accomplish in this area.

Thanks everyone!
 

BridgeInspector

Flite Test Groupie
#50
...

I would suggest that the AMA guidelines are a great rule of thumb when dealing with larger, heavier, and more expensive aircraft, but that strictly following them at FF would completely change what has made FF so successful.
This made me think. Was this an AMA event? I was never asked for our AMA numbers that I remember.
 

earthsciteach

Moderator
Moderator
#52
The interference issue has been there since year one. And, it happens regardless of the number of people flying. Mike Finley, Chris Roncaglione, Mike Kuhlins, Andre Rousseau, Luis Russi and I flew there over Memorial Day weekend. I lost signal to my quad and my Radian while flying. Both crashed as a result. There seems to be something blasting intermittently on 2.4 Ghz. Our best guess is that it is some kind of communication associated with the oil wells on the property.
 
#55
From the FAQ:

Will this be an AMA insured Event?

Yes, it will be necessary for the event to be insured and safe. This will be an AMA event and we will be observing all AMA safety codes during the event. An AMA License will be mandatory for all pilots. This will be checked at registration, where pilot badges will be issued for the event. Current MAAC Canadian Memberships will also be honored. If you haven’t already, you will need to join or renew your AMA license before the event:

https://www.modelaircraft.org/joinrenew.aspx
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#56
From the FAQ:

Will this be an AMA insured Event?

Yes, it will be necessary for the event to be insured and safe. This will be an AMA event and we will be observing all AMA safety codes during the event. An AMA License will be mandatory for all pilots. This will be checked at registration, where pilot badges will be issued for the event. Current MAAC Canadian Memberships will also be honored. If you haven’t already, you will need to join or renew your AMA license before the event:

https://www.modelaircraft.org/joinrenew.aspx
I knew pilots were required to have AMA membership, but the line of this being an AMA event seems to indicate it should be in the AMA's calendar of sanctioned events - I wonder why it doesn't show up there?

And now I'm equally curious who the CD is... :confused:
 

PsyBorg

Fly Angry
Mentor
#57
I specifically got my AMA just for FFE17 because from what I read / heard/ saw that it was a requirement to fly at FFE17. I did not how ever read anywhere it being an official event for AMA. I think the AMA was required to make sure some sort of coverage for individuals was in place and not tax Mr. Furey's property insurance, and I assume Flite Test had something to cover the event as well since they are the official proprietors.
 
#58
I knew pilots were required to have AMA membership, but the line of this being an AMA event seems to indicate it should be in the AMA's calendar of sanctioned events - I wonder why it doesn't show up there?

And now I'm equally curious who the CD is... :confused:
I asked the guy in the AMA tent this year why it's not on the calendar. He didnt want to say too much. Basicly stated the rules are followed a bit to loosely to be an official AMA event. And I'm ok with that..